“ In running the mind flies with the body; the mysterious efflorescence of language seems to pulse in the brain, in rhythm with our feet and the swinging of our arms.” – Joyce Carol Oates
Running is analogous with writing—both practices feed one another. Running feeds my writing and the inverse is also true; writing feeds my running. Running produces perspective—giving me the space to observe the world and my thoughts. Writing helps me understand and interpret my lived experiences.
Writing helps me solidify my own truths. Whether privately in my journal or publicly sharing with others, the craft helps me make sense of the world. It’s the mechanism I use to do the ongoing inner work needed to become a happier and overall, better human being. Writing takes my incessant, frenetic mind activity and sorts it out—line by line, word by word. Running connects the dots—supplying room for my mind to form sentences, connect ideas, rework paragraphs, and come up with entirely new ideas.
Running gives me interesting experiences worthy of writing about: getting lost during a 100-mile race, running the NYC marathon with severe GI stress, and breaking a world record. Writing gives me the medium to communicate and share my successes, failures, and ideas with others.
Running and writing are timeless practices; they keep me grounded no matter where I am—whether at home or travelling—they’re a familiar place I can always return to. Running tethers me to nature. It is here, in the stillness and timelessness of the trees, water, and plants, where I do my deepest introspection. Writing is one of the only occupations that author Andrew Roberts says, “can offer immortality.”—the written word is here to stay for centuries to come.
Writing is my preferred medium to share what I’ve learned in my fitness journey with others. Annie Dillard writes in her beautiful book The Writing Life:
The impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you.
When I learn something new that’s helped me in my life in some way—whatever the source—I share it with others. Writing solidifies my knowledge; making news ideas stick.
Writing and running both require self-discipline, patience, and focus. They don’t need to be perfected, just practiced. Both provide ongoing, lifelong challenges and growth. They require building up endurance—as the word count stacks up, so do the miles.
Both running and writing have become daily practices and know if one lags, the other will fall behind. While creativity and athleticism are two opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to skill development, they are indeed connected in more ways than we realize.